Three poems by Matthew Stewart

Home comforts

Until you’ve lived in a country
full of kitchens full of saucepans
that slowly creak to the boil,
a kettle won’t seem to whistle
like the owner of a loose dog
calling it back, calling it home.
Twenty years apart

With a synchronised swivelling of necks
and a coughed silence, they welcome me in,
wincing as I order. Once I’ve sat down,
a soft hubbub resumes.

Ignore the smells, swap Spanish for English,
back streets of Villalejo for Oxford.
Muttered stories mirror muttered stories.
I’m still in the background.
The ex

There’s no time for
dress rehearsals.

Miscast again,
I’m straight on stage,

and gulp. How long
should phone calls be?

How couched? Just what
is cordial

when it’s at home?
Where is home?
Earlier versions of these poems were first published in Ambit, The Next Review, The Frogmore Papers and The Best New British and Irish Poets 2016
Matthew Stewart lives between West Sussex and Extremadura, and works in the Spanish wine trade. These three poems are taken from his first full collection, The Knives of Villalejo, due out in June from Eyewear Publishing. He blogs at